Wellness has become somewhat of a buzz word over the past couple of years, with more and more of us realising and understanding the benefits of taking a little time out to think about number one for a change. And although many of today’s practices base themselves on traditions that have been around for centuries, it is only now that they have entered into the mainstream that the vast majority of people are willing to give them a try.
You must have been living in a deep, dark cave in the middle of Outer Mongolia if you haven’t yet heard of the term ‘mindfulness‘, indeed in 2016 we were pretty much encouraged to be mindful of everything we did. From mindful eating, mindful movement, mindful breathing and even mindful colouring, if you haven’t managed to fit even a teeny tiny amount of mindfulness into your life so far, then you seriously need to reassess your life goals!
Yet when you combine this mindfulness with the positive affirmations we’re told to recite each morning, the meditation apps we should install on our phones, the massage therapies, the sensual experiences, the self help books, the counselling as well as trying to go about our daily business, and all of a sudden our heads, rather ironically, become even more cluttered.
The key is to find something that suits your lifestyle, that works for you and that brings you the most benefits. With this being the case, we’ve taken a look through some of the wellness trends that are set to be big in 2017 to help you decide which ones will help you the most in your continuing journey of self improvement and wellbeing.
Is this the End of Hygge?
Just when you find a wellness trend that totally sums up what you’re all about, another one comes along. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen to Hygge this year. Gutted right? I mean Hygge is like every person’s dream; cosy, comfy, hibernation, noooooo we seriously can’t handle losing this glorious Hygge life!
The Scandinavians have only gone and done it again and this time they’ve got a new word for us to try and pronounce. Lagom (pronounced ‘lar-gom’) is the frugal cousin of Hygge. So you can still have your knitted blanket, but you’ve got to knit it yourself and in an ideal world you’ll have reared your own sheep, sheared them and spun the wool yourself, but failing that unpicking an old woollen jumper you no longer wear and then knitting a blanket from that is perfectly acceptable too.
If you like to plan your meals, keep your finances organised, you have your own herb garden and veggie patch, you prefer showers over baths and you always put a jumper on instead of turning up the central heating then you are already down with this Lagom lark.
Whereas Hygge is about capturing a moment, Lagom is in it for the long term; it’s a lifestyle. I like to relate it to Goldilocks and the Three Bears – it’s about striking a balance between having not too little and not too much, but having just the ‘right’ amount that allows you to lead a sustainable, balanced life.
Now, just imagine if there was a way of combining Hygge with Lagom, like ‘Hygom’ (pronounced ‘huh gom’), to create the ultimate wellness trend. Watch this space, we reckon this could be the top wellness trend in 2018!
Many of us strive to create an atmosphere in our homes that makes us feel safe, comfortable and happy to be spending time there and now this concept has reached our gyms and workout spaces too.
Ambient wellness is considered as important as the actual physical space and equipment that we work out with. And whilst most of us know we should be looking after ourselves better, our own self care is often at the very bottom of our to do lists. Today’s busy lifestyles mean that although we have ambitions of striking an equal work life balance, it is difficult to do so without feeling as though one is losing out to the other.
The answer is either to get someone to do certain jobs for us or to incorporate more of the things that make us feel good and improve our wellbeing into things we are already doing. If you’re someone who already manages to fit a gym sesh in before going to work, imagine if there was a way in which you could pump that experience up even further for the ultimate wellness workout. We’re talking coloured mood lighting to enhance, uplift or chill us out, oxygen sprays to rejuvenate and refresh, massage chairs to unwind stressful muscle tensions, sounds of nature to calm the mind and mood enhancing sprays to evoke different emotions.
2017 is likely to see more and more of these techniques factor in our lives, both at home, in our social spaces and even in our places of work (see below). In fact all of these ambient tools are most effective on those people who live or work in big towns and cities, where factors like air pollution, commuting, long working hours, convenience food hurriedly eaten at desks, air conditioning, central heating all make a huge impact on health and wellbeing. So, dig out that lava lamp, dust off that whale music and go grab a beanbag because this year it is all about the ambience!
Contrary to the name, this particular trend does not involve hopping into the bathtub and belting out Adele tracks as a form of vocal therapy, although that does sound pretty good, right?! Sound bath is in fact a meditative process in which sound waves are ‘washed’ over the body to help transport the mind, body and soul to a place of ultimate relaxation. Already proving popular in the US, with sound bath healers becoming fully booked the moment details of their new sessions are released, the soundbath trend has now spread to the UK.
Sound is an incredibly evocative and powerful sense and has long been used by ancient tribes as a tool for healing and wellness. An instrument, such as a gong or a singing bowl, is played by a healer, whilst individuals lie down on a mat and allow themselves to relax into an almost dreamlike stance. The vibrations emitted from the soundwaves of the instruments are supposedly able to release tensions and energy blockages within the body and this in turn can help with emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, stress and sleep disorders, as well as helping to manage the physical pain of rheumatic disorders. We think this sounds like the ultimate in relaxation and predict that soundbaths will become an established part of the wellness industry in 2017, especially as we’ve already seen that creating the perfect ambience is also a key trend for this year.
Much has been spoken about ‘Millennials’ recently, about how they’ve grown up in a society that has essentially spoon fed them and wrapped them in cotton wool, which has resulted in much higher work v’s life expectations. This has placed increasing pressure on companies, who are finally realising that to keep their younger staff happy they must help them define the line between workplace and home.
Millennials are classed as those born between 1982 and 2004 and are also known as Generation Y or the Net Generation. They are also characterised with the following, rather generalised, traits:
- They are easily distracted.
- They need instant gratification and recognition.
- They are more tech savvy then any other previous generation.
- They live for and through social media.
- They want a flexible working environment, one which allows them to work hard, but also play hard.
Basically, it’s their way or the high way, but what does this mean in terms of wellness? Well, unsurprisingly these characteristics have been viewed quite negatively, however I would argue that perhaps millennials have done us all a favour. Whether meaning to or not, they have highlighted something that has been a problem for a long time; we all need to just chill out a bit more, enjoy life and strike that balance.
Workplaces are now more aware of the importance of ambient wellness, regular breaks, self improvement programmes and just generally keeping everybody happy – and that’s where apps, like Headspace and Design My Day, tick all the boxes.
Headspace is essentially a personal trainer for the brain. The app teaches you various techniques and exercises to incorporate just 10 minutes of meditation and calm into your day and therefore promoting a healthier and happier lifestyle. Companies, like Goldman Sachs, have given their employees access to the unlocked version of Headspace as part of their wellness in the workplace initiative in a bid to focus, live and smile more, and to stress and worry less. The result? A happier, healthier, more productive workforce.
Design My Day does exactly as the name would suggest, it allows the user to schedule their day with the intention of motivating, inspiring and uplifting. The app crowdsources thousands of ideas of a range of activities and customizes it to suit however the user is feeling at that time. This personalised daily schedule is a fantastic way to promote self worth and mental well being and really taps into mindfulness and the simple pleasures in life. It encourages us to notice things, to experience things and to be grateful of things, all of which are key philosophies of 2017.
Less is More
A tidy house is a tidy mind and if we want maximum wellness in 2017 we need to start having a good old clear out. Clutter free queen, Marie Kondo is at the forefront of this minimal trend, however the refreshing thing about her ethos is that she’s not asking us to throw away every single one of our worldly possessions, just the ones that don’t bring us any joy. Yep, joy is the key word in all this:
- Does that expensive handbag in last years colours that is now stashed at the back of your wardrobe bring you joy? No…charity!
- Does that pile of CDs propping up the wonky legged coffee table bring you joy? No…eBay!
- Does the collection of books that fill your shelves bring you joy? Yes…Keep!
It really is that simple, but you have to be honest and you have to be harsh. Really question what it is about an object that brings you joy and in all honesty if you’ve having to think about it too hard the chances are you’re confusing joy with nostalgia and it’s bin time. Object are literally just that…objects. What we become attached to are the memories and emotions connected to those physical objects. By hanging onto certain objects we hang on to the associated emotions, which is fine if they are positive, joyous ones, not so if they’re negative. 2017 will see the continued rise of minimalism with more and more people understanding the benefits that can be had from freeing ourselves of material things. For a more detailed look at how minimalism could help you in 2017 take a look at this vid from The Minimalists.
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